Monday, December 20, 2010

Baking :: Cranberry Lemon Loaf


I was trying to find the recipe for a delicious cranberry loaf I made last Christmas, or was it the Christmas before? Anyway, I couldn't find it, but did find a "Cranberry Orange Loaf" recipe in one of the Company's Coming cookbooks. I made a few changes to it and now have 3 loaves in the oven.

Here's my version:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
Juice of 2 lemons and water to make 1 1/2 cups

4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3 cups fresh, chopped cranberries

Combine butter, sugars and eggs in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in juice/water.

In second bowl, measure flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in lemon zest and cranberries. Add to batter, stirring just until moistened. Scrape into greased loaf pans. I used 2 large loaf pans and one small and filled them each just over half full.

Bake in 350° oven for 1 hour. Test with toothpick. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. The recipe says it tastes even better the next day, which I hope is true cuz I'll serve one for breakfast tomorrow and give away the other two!

I will glaze the loaves with a simple glaze made from icing sugar and milk. Or I could make a lemon candy-ish glaze by cooking sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot until it thickens. Hmmm... which would you do?


* So, now that we've had a chance to sample (and give away!) the loaves, I have to say it is a blog-worthy recipe! There's a nice balance between tartness and sweetness and the glaze finishes it off well. I went with the milk and icing sugar glaze. Next time I might try it with 3 lemons instead of two for even more intense lemon-y goodness!

Baking :: Smoky Nuts and Bolts


Here's one of my family's favourite Christmas recipe!

1 box cherrios 
1 box shreddies
1 bag pretzels
1 pound  peanuts
1 tablespoon seasoning salt [lawry salt is what I've used]
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon liquid hickory smoke seasoning

Mix spices together and mix with other dry ingredients in large roaster. Mix melted butter with the liquid hickory smoke and drizzle over everything, mixing well. Bake at 250 F.  for 45 minutes . Stir often.


Thanks for the recipe, Aunt Shirley! Scott made these this morning while I was knitting this Swiss Cheese Scarf. They are really good! Next on the list of things to make is Lawrence's Poppycock.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Second Annual Christmas Brunch


This week a group of friends and I had our second annual Christmas brunch, as I mentioned the other day. Andrea's home is so lovely, beautifully decorated for Christmas and she's so warm and hospitable that it was a really beautiful, fun and relaxing day. Everyone brought such yummy food, too. There was ham & cheese dip in bread bowl, cran-apple mulled cider, surprise spread (surprise! there's no shrimp in it - thankfully!), a nice assortment of fancy crackers, meat, cheese, spinach dip, hot spring rolls, and then a wonderful variety of Christmas baking

Andrea's Cranberry Bliss Bars! Recipe here!

Thanks so much for hosting, Andrea!

A fun part of our annual brunch is the handmade gift exchange! I received this gorgeous Christmas table mat from Andrea and a bottle of delicious smelling Peppermint Twist hand soap. The quiltie goes with my green kitchen perfectly!
When you brunch with bloggers this is what happens; no one can eat until everyone has taken pictures of the food!

You can read more about our brunch on Rhonda's blog, Andrea's blog and Sarah's blog.

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Baking :: Peanut Butter Skor Rice Krispie Squares


Mmmm... my kitchen smells like a bakery today. On Facebook, Michelle asked, "What are you going to do with all that baking?!". Well, this tin is on its way to a friend who lives down the street! I've filled it with soft and chewy gingersnaps, chocolate peanut butter cookies, peppermint pinwheels and peanut butter rice krispies squares. Another tray of home baked goodness will come with me to a Christmas party tonight, another one went to care group last night. I'll take some to Christmas dinner at my sister-in-law's, send some to school with the girls. There is no shortage of people to give my baking to! Notice I haven't given away my secret stash of brown sugar fudge my mom made the other day? It is safely tucked away and off limits to little fingers, friends and neighbors. lol

Here's the recipe I used for the

Peanut Butter Skor Rice Krispie Squares

Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares page 9...

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 cups rice krispies

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

Heat first 4 ingredients in large saucepan, stirring constantly,
until well mixed and thickened. Remove from heat.

Add rice krispies, stirring to coat. Pack into greased 9"x9" pan.

Icing: melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat, stirring often. Spread over squares.

I also sprinkled mine with skor bits! I doubled the recipe and used a 9"x13" pan and used the red and green Christmas Rice Krispies to make them a little more festive.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

{ winter wonderland }


This week I finally finished this Winter Wonderland quilt that I started in the spring of 2008. I'm so happy to have it hanging up on the wall in time for Christmas!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

{ fetching gloves }

Happy Wednesday!

Today  I am attending the Ladies Who Lunch Christmas Brunch! We're having a potluck brunch at Andrea's lovely home and a handmade gift exchange. Here's the gift I made for Rhonda. They are Fetching gloves from the Knitty website. I used the exact yarn the pattern called for and needles half a size larger since my knitting tension tends to be a little on the tight side and I wanted to make sure these wouldn't end up little kid size! I purchased the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn at our local wool store on Ontario Street in Chilliwack. I love that store! They are so friendly and helpful in there, the prices are good and there are lots of free patterns. This yarn was so nice and soft and easy to work with. It shows up the cables very nicely, too.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

{ christmas ball painting party }

Last week Madelyn had a group of friends over to paint Christmas balls. I'd never done this craft before, but had so much fun and love how the balls turned out!

The next day my youngest had some painting fun of her own! If I can find a really good sale, I'm going to buy more Christmas ornaments to paint!

What types of handmade ornaments have you made? Last year for Christmas I received some super cute embroidered, felt, stuffed ornaments that I would like to re-create. I even have all the supplies I need. It's just a matter of making the time to do them!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking :: Ginger Snaps


These cookies are so moist, soft and delicious. They taste almost as good as the ones Grandma makes. To dress these up for Christmas you can drizzle them with white or dark chocolate.

Ginger Snaps

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup real butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Granulated sugar

Beat brown sugar, butter, molasses and egg on medium speed. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (I rarely do this).

Heat oven to 375°, spray cookie sheets (I prefer stoneware) with Pam.

Shape dough into balls, roll in granulated sugar. Place on pan and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.

Bake 9 to 12 minutes or just until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Tip: you can also roll this dough out (if you refrigerate it first) on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men or other cookie shapes.

If you've enjoyed what you just read, make sure you don't miss a post by subscribing to my blog's feed! I'd also love it if you'd follow along with Google Friend Connect... over there on the right!  Any questions? Please leave me a comment! Thanks so much.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baking :: Best Chocolate Cake

One of my favourite cookbooks for baking is Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook. I've never made a recipe out of this book that I didn't like. And, this cake is no exception! I've been using this recipe for "Best Chocolate Cake" since around 1994 and it turns out perfectly every time. This time I baked it in an 8" round, deep cake pan and then cut the cake into 3 layers once it cooled. Then instead of regular icing, I made chocolate whipped cream to frost in between each layer along with a generous sprinkling of Skor bits. Wow, was this ever a good cake! Everyone at our care group enjoyed it, too.

So, here's the recipe. I definitely think you should give this cake a try!

Best Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk (or make your own using milk and lemon juice)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour pan. Beat all ingredients on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.

Bake 40 to 55 minutes depending on what pan you use! Test with a toothpick to be sure it's done. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

2 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Sifted Cocoa
1/2 cup (or more if you like it sweeter )Sifted Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Meringue Powder

Whip whipping cream until it starts to thicken and then add other ingredients. Continue beating until it is nice and thick, but not butter!

Assemble cake and serve. Be prepared for lots of ooooohs, ahhhhhs, and yummmmms!

If you've enjoyed what you just read, make sure you don't miss a post by subscribing to my blog's feed! I'd also love it if you'd follow along with Google Friend Connect... over there on the right!  Any questions? Please leave me a comment! Thanks so much.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

{ homemade christmas }


How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Here's a neat cable hat I finished a week ago. I was making it for my purple-loving sister, but it turned out wayyy to small, so I gave it to a small child instead! It looks very cute on her.

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree... here's a toque my daughter recently knit for her little cousin for Christmas. Close your eyes, Amy.

What gifts are you making this  year?